A few days ago, I received a text from my older sister, Megan. “Becca [our younger sister] is in the hospital. She started bleeding so heavy she couldn’t leave the bathroom and has cramps so bad she was puking. She was at band and they called an ambulance! I’ll keep you posted.”
My first thought was, oh my god, how embarrassing. My second thought, oh my god, not Becca too. As I’ve written about before, my periods are less than normal. Oh how I envy those women who menstruate like clockwork. Those who can plan weddings, vacations, military exercises, etc. around their cycle without worrying that their bodies will evoke a surprise visit from that miserable old hag, Aunt Flow. As I have also written, I cannot take birth control to regulate my hormones. The various times I have tried, like Becca, I ended up in the ER from extreme heavy flow.
The Consistent Answer – Birth Control
Becca is eighteen years old and not sexually active and has never had a need to be on birth control. Between our mother, who had the same reactions that I did years ago, and my horror stories, I doubt she will ever be tempted to try. Still, I said to Megan and Mom prior to her doctors appointment, “They are going to try to force her to take birth control.” I know because that is the ONLY option I have ever been given. More than once I have had medical professionals glare at me and respond, “Well if you don’t want to take birth control there is nothing I can do for you.”
Becca went to her first gynecologist appointment today (congrats Becca you are a woman now!). Sure enough, Megan called me furious saying, “All they are willing to do is give her more pain killers and prescribe her birth control.”
I responded, “Not that I want to say I told you so, but I told you so. I knew that’s all they would do without any other tests ruling anything more serious out. Ugh, I freaking knew it!”
Side note: We are Irish, German, Scottish (and my Dad swears we’re of Viking descent on his side) and on top of that our hormonal imbalances; needless to say, anger management is not one the Prifogle Women’s strong points.
Becca explained my experiences with birth control to the doctor and expressed that she didn’t want to do that, but the doctor told her and Mom that it was her only option. They scheduled an ultrasound to rule out ovarian cysts, but in all likelihood it will just be something poor Becca has to live with as well.
Why Hormones Matter and Why I Write
When I started writing for Lucine’s online magazine, Hormone’s Matter, Chandler Marrs told me the statistic that <30% of clinical practice guidelines in OB/Gyn are evidence based. I was in shock, but then I thought of all my horrible experiences with my periods and doctors lack of willingness to do anything about it outside of synthetic hormones (and for some women this is great – I just don’t happen to be in that category of women). As busy and exhausted as I am (and aren’t we all) I continue to research, write and help build this online community because that statistic is ridiculous. Hormonal birth control cannot be the band-aid, cure-all for women’s health any longer! We have to start figuring out what the problem is and dealing with the cause, not the symptoms? It could be as simple as eliminating endocrine disruptors and hormones from our diet/lifestyle or adding exercise, or it might be something more complicated and un- or misdiagnosed. For Becca’s sake, I hope it’s something as simple as a diet change.This isn’t just a female problem either. As John-Brandon Pierre wrote in Why Men Should Care About Women’s Health:
“It is our duty as men to help care for and help provide security for our women. To help strengthen them so that they can live out their lives in the most meaningful way they choose. To support them and help them find answers to the problems that plagues them. In doing so we enrich our future and we do our part to better understand what we cherish the most – our women.”
Thank you for your support and please continue to spread the word about Lucine Biotech and that HORMONES MATTER!